Jane Van Ryan
Posted January 19, 2010
For the past week, Americans have been watching the tragedy of the Haitian earthquake--the pancaked buildings, the human suffering and the overwhelming need for food, water and medical supplies. The United States has responded by sending humanitarian aid on a massive scale via ships, airplanes and helicopters, and is working to deliver supplies to several locations.
This effort takes people, money, and a coordinated response among many organizations--and just as important--it takes fuel.
As blogger Lew Waters explains:
"[Americans] readily accept our role as 'the world's EMT,' ready to respond with aid, people and our abundance of food to help where needed anywhere in the world...What we never give consideration to is what we must have to continue in this role, fuel. All of the equipment needed to carry out the massive relief efforts, to ferry the goods and people to these afflicted areas and light the dark requires fuel to keep them going."
Lew also says that he is "taken aback" by those who work against the development of domestic oil needed to power relief efforts:
"Given the ability of our oil companies to produce what is needed in carrying out these missions of mercy, I am particularly offended when I read of directives from current Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as he announced plans to toughen U.S. drilling rules...[when the companies] supply the much needed fuel to continue in the 'World's EMT' role..."
Lew concludes his post by asking how many people would die if U.S. rescue efforts were "out of gas" during disasters. Read the full post for more information.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.